Volunteers span the state for our seniors

As the demand for aged care services continues to grow, Juniper is working to double its capacity to respond to help meet the needs of older Western Australians.

Juniper, a Uniting Church WA agency, has one of the largest aged care footprints in the country with much-needed services delivered as far north as the Kimberley, as well as the Mid-West throughout metropolitan Perth, the Wheatbelt and right through to Albany in the Great Southern.

More than 450 dedicated volunteers span this vast area, brightening the lives of Juniper’s residents, home care clients and their families in many different ways.

Volunteer co-ordinator, Tim Law, said volunteers make a big difference to the lives of people in Juniper’s care undertaking a diversity of interesting roles and tasks.

“Our volunteers help with all sorts of things from companionship, activity groups, bus and buggy driving, administration, pastoral care and even a bit of acting!” he said.

Juniper’s Simulation Centre in Bentley is a joint initiative with Curtin University, featuring the latest technology in a realistic residential/home care environment, to help train the next generation of health professionals using practical care scenarios.

Juniper’s older volunteers, who live in the nearby retirement living units, give their time to act as clients or patients so students can practise what they have learned on real people.

“It’s a highly successful program that is helping to build the aged care health professionals of the future and it simply wouldn’t be possible without the commitment and skills of our volunteers,” Tim said.

Juniper’s Pastoral Care program provides pastoral and spiritual support to residents and their families when needed and more than 25 Pastoral Care volunteers assist the Pastoral Care team with their important work.

Given the sensitivity of the role, all volunteers have the opportunity to attend special training sessions, where they can workshop dealing with difficult topics such as grief and loss, death, listening and communication and understanding dementia.

“With such a wide reach across WA we really are fortunate to have a strong and wide-spread volunteer workforce supporting our skilled staff in such a variety of areas,” Tim said.

To register your interest as a Juniper Volunteer visit www.juniper.org.au.

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